|Protecting Your Rights: Serving Sand Lake, Spenard, and Turnagain|
|May 12, 2016
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week students, friends, and families all across Anchorage are coming together to celebrate high school graduation. Congratulations to all of Alaska’s high school graduates and best wishes on all of your future endeavors!
Medicaid Lawsuit Appealed Without a Vote in the House or Senate
Last week, in the latest turn in the ongoing saga of some legislators’ attempts to unravel Governor Walker’s decision to expand the public Medicaid health care program, the House Majority filed an appeal in state Supreme Court to halt Medicaid expansion. The House Rules Chairman took this action without a vote of the House. In taking this unilateral action, Rep. Johnson is disregarding legal advice from the Legislature’s attorney. Judge Pfiffner has already rejected the legislature’s arguments, and the Alaska Supreme Court rejected an earlier request for review by the legislature.
This action in filing notice of the appeal is contrary to the advice of the Legislature’s Legal Services Director, Doug Gardener. According to Mr. Gardner, the decision to appeal Judge Pfiffner’s decision requires a full House and Senate vote. But the House Majority has not allowed the full House to vote on whether to appeal Judge Pfiffner’s decision. And the Senate has declined to take action on an appeal, as the Washington D.C. lawyers have only appealed on behalf of the House. The cost for an appeal is projected to be $100,000 or more.
At a minimum, whether to appeal Judge Pfiffner’s decision deserves a vote of the full House. I will continue to work with other legislators to find opportunities to end the appeal of Judge Pfiffner’s decision so that we can stop incurring legal fees from the Washington D.C. lawyers.
Criminal Justice Reform
As I wrote in my last newsletter, last week the House approved SB 91, the Criminal Justice Reform Bill. After SB 91 was approved, one representative moved for reconsideration. Wednesday, the House reconsidered the Criminal Justice Reform Bill and, once again, passed SB 91. SB 91 now returns to the Senate for their consideration.
Community Events and Opportunities
As the session continues on, please feel free to contact me with any suggestions or concerns.
Rep. Matt Claman
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